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Do you think that my gauge is off?

I saw a very cute pair of crochet mitts on this site http://freecellpenguin.blogspot.com/2014/03/da-bears-fingerless-gloves.html

The blogger who runs the site, Freecell Penguin, has very kindly shared her pattern, so I thought that I would try it.

The pattern calls for worsted weight yarn and a size H hook, which as far as I know is a 5mm hook, and the pattern is sized for an adult. However being awkward I thought that I would like to make a child sized pair. I decided that I would use a 4mm hook and DK yarn which – you would think wouldn’t you – would make for a smaller mitt. Hmmm!

By the time that I had crocheted the cuff I realised that they were way too big for any child that I know. Not to be deterred I decided to carry on anyway and modify the rest of the glove to fit me. So instead of a slit for the thumb I did a thumb gusset and made the whole mitt a bit longer.

So, yes, I think that my crochet is a bit off gauge!

As I have hands covered in paint I decided that modelling them wasn’t an option.

Anyway, many thanks to Freecell Penguin for her generosity in making this pattern available.

Planners – What Size Do You Use?

Goldilocks was nowhere to be seen…

I have recently been designing planner inserts. I started out making some for myself. It occurred to me that it might be something that other people could use too, so I created a few Weekly Planner inserts in different sizes.

I use a Personal sized planner but there are so many different sizes available. What size do you prefer? Many people that I have spoken to seem to like the A5 size but I suppose that it depends on how much information you need to put into it and also whether or not you will be carrying it around with you.

There is a lot of opportunity for customisation too. I love owls, foxes, etc. The whole furry friends from the forest thing! So I put some on to my inserts.

I have ideas for all sorts of other inserts too, from shopping lists to sewing project sheets and all sorts of other things in between! I also have lots of ideas for different designs.

I would love to hear your thoughts on planners. Do you use one? What Size? Fancy or Plain? Are there any inserts that you would love to have but cannot find in the shops?

I decided to make my inserts into digital downloads. That way anyone who buys them can make themselves some new inserts without having to go out to the shops. I live out in the sticks so the ability to easily print off things and use them straight away is important to me.

The inserts that I have made so far are available here

These are the Weekly Planner inserts that I made first.
Quickly followed by some dividers
Some extra pages…

Dance

As I have mentioned before on this blog, I am intrigued by the patterns that I see in nature and the fact that they are repeated on different scales. From blood vessels to river deltas, these fractal patterns are everywhere.

This often ends up with some of my work having a slightly visceral quality. I even did a series of paintings called “visceral landscapes”.

This painting included papers that I had previously decorated with acrylic paint and then were then collaged on to the painting. I also used various bits of paper from magazines. After the collage I worked more layers of paint until I was happy with it.

It turned out more obviously “visceral” than usual!

I showed it to a few people recently and it has been interesting to see the reactions of those viewing the painting. It seems to be that they either love it or loathe it. What is your opinion?

More Minis…

Here are four more little abstracts. This series is turning out to be fun. Challenging but also an opportunity to try out various ideas.

These are the same size as yesterday’s bunch, 2.5 x 3.5 inches, in a 6 x 8 inch off white mount. I used watercolour, ink, Neocolor 2 and a touch of acrylic on watercolour paper.

I will be putting these into a local gallery, Elgin Gallery, rather than on Etsy as I did with yesterday’s selection, which you can view here.

Miniature Abstracts

Working on a small scale

Every so often I challenge myself to work on a small scale. I find it much more difficult to work on smaller pieces without losing spontaneity.

I have been using various media – watercolour, collage, pastels. It means that I have to think a bit harder (often a problem for me :)) but it is always fun.

Here are a few examples. I will be selling these on Folksy and Etsy. Another bonus is that, because they are small, they don’t cost as much! They measure just 2.5 x 3.5 inches. I am selling them mounted in a 6 x 8 inch mount, so they are ready to pop into your own frame.

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/Doricdragons?ref=l2-shopheader-name

New mixed media paintings

Stripes 2

I have been playing about with my acrylic paints, inks and Neocolors. I used  heavy weight water colour paper as a base.

The ink is from Sakura’s Pigma pens, which are pigment based and fade proof. I especially love the brush tip version.

The Neocolor crayons are water soluble, so will dissolve with water to create a watercolour effect. I used to be sceptical about their usefulness, until I got some to try. Now I wouldn’t be without them. They are great to take sketching too.

 

Watercolour Field kit, a repurposed organiser

I love trying to recycle or upcycle things.  I hate to get rid of something that might potentially be useful. I have had this organiser hanging around for ages but it has never been used properly as I have another which is better suited to keeping my information handy.

I am always looking for ways to take a sketching kit along with me and I have various set ups, depending on the amount of room that I have in the bag that I will be carrying (if any). I had a play around with my organiser and found that I could fit a reasonable amount of kit in it. I ended up with a set of Inktense paints, which are a lot of fun. Lightfast and water resistant when dry. You can layer them very easily and the colours are strong. I also fit in a pair of containers for water. They are supposed to be for oil paint but work well for watercolours too.

I also cut some paper to fit, I used Zerkall printmaking paper in this case. It is a lovely smooth paper and takes both pen and watercolour really well. I have a great Bind punch which I used to make the holes, it is adjustable (A5/A6/A7) and I can get the holes in just the right position for my organiser. It is available here.

The pocket in the organiser holds some travel brushes, pencil and eraser. I forgot to show my  pen which fits in the loop next to the paper. I haven’t room for a water bottle but I usually carry one for drinking, so I will use that.

All in all, I am pleased with how it turned out. I have only taken it out once so far but hopefully it will get more use soon!

 

Reviewing Dr PH Martin’s Bombay Indian Inks, a summary

Inky Mess 3

I have been writing a few posts recently about Dr PH Martin’s Bombay Indian Inks, mainly because I have become captivated by them.

These inks are available as singles or in sets. I bought two sets, each set has 12, 1 oz (28.4 ml) size bottles. This one,  Set 1, has Yellow, Red, Magenta, Green, Blue, Brown, Black, White, Violet, Bright Red, Teal, Grass Green. This one, Set 2, has Golden Yellow, Orange, Tangerine, Crimson, Cherry Red, Red Violet, Aqua, Turquoise, Yellow Ochre, Terra Cotta, Van Dyke Brown and Sepia.

They are also available as half size bottles but they do not have a dropper like the larger ones.

I think that if I could only get one set it would be Set 1. It has a good range of colours which, with the exception of White and Black, are translucent. The colours in Set 2 are good but I think that I could mix many of the colours using the Set 1 colours. The earth colours in Set 2 are fairly opaque and the Terra Cotta, in particular has a strange consistency. Whilst being opaque is not a fault and might be useful for some people, my reasons for liking these inks is their translucency. The earth colours in Set 2 also have a tendency to separate out on standing and if you don’t give them a regular shake them they will separate permanently and become unusable.

The photograph below shows this effect.

So my advice would be buy Set 1 and play with them to see what they will do. Mixing colours is easy because the bottles have a dropper in the lid, so you can measure out how many drops it takes to get a particular colour and then record that for future use.

 

More playing with Dr PH Martin’s Bombay Indian Ink

Inky Mess 2
Inky Mess 2

Further to my previous post, here is another painting using the fabulous Dr PH Martin’s Bombay Indian Inks.

This time I also used some Neocolor II crayons, which are professional quality, water soluble wax crayons. When the ink is used alongside them they partially dissolve and create some lovely effects.

I am loving the translucent qualities of these inks and will continue playing with them to see what they can do, on their own and in combination with other media.